Workforce Initiatives

OPRA members employ approximately 30,300 people across Ohio. The vast majority of these 30,300 positions are Direct Support Professionals.

Direct Support Professionals (DSP) help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities work, live, and play in their community of choice. DSPs are the cornerstone of the intellectual and developmental disabilities service system, but DSP recruitment and retention in the system is at a crisis level. In 2013 the turnover rate for DSP’s was 47%. In 2016, turnover is at 51%; a 4% increase. OPRA Members report staff vacancies of 20% and higher.

Funding constraints have severely limited the pay for DSP’s. OPRA’s biennial Compensation and Benefits Survey shows the average weighted pay rate in 2016 for DSP’s was $10.24 an hour. Agencies also find themselves competing for employees with fast food restaurants and retail stores, many who can pay significantly more the $10.24 average.

The combination of forces leads to significant overtime for those available to work, causing burnout and staff turnover as staff leave their DSP jobs in search of a more stable schedule and better pay. Reducing turnover and increasing DSP retention rates is a priority focus of OPRA. The recruitment and retention of direct care staff is the primary challenge of service providers today and into the foreseeable future. This section of our website provides information on the exciting projects OPRA is engaged in to increase recruitment and improve the retention of DSP’s.